Western Mountains and High Plains

December, 2007
Regional Report

Grow Kitchen Herbs

If you have a bright, sunny window, grow some herbs in the kitchen. Keep them sheared and use the clippings to add flavoring to your cooking. Avoid the urge to fertilize often as it will make them grow lanky and have little flavor. And don't overwater as it can lead to crown rot and attract fungus gnats.

Decorate Outdoor Containers

Add some color and interest to empty outdoor containers and pots. Make an arrangement with evergreen boughs, pinecones, and prunings of bittersweet, cotoneaster, holly, and other fruiting shrubs. Natural materials are my favorites, but some artificial greens look quite realistic.

Use Snow as Mulch

If snow is abundant in your area, use it as protective mulch where needed. It is the best there is and it's free. Shovel it on perennial beds and areas where bulbs are planted. Snow will keep the soil cool, provide moisture as it begins to melt, and prevent perennials from heaving out of the ground.

Check the Water Garden

Top off the water garden or pond. Skim off any leaves and other debris that may have fallen through the netting cover. It is helpful to insert a section of metal pipe or a stout tree branch in one end of the pond. This collects heat during the day and melts the ice around it, allowing toxic gases to escape.

Tropical Plants Prefer Warmth and Light

Most houseplants are from tropical climates and need appropriate conditions to stay healthy and attractive. In your home, locate them where temperatures are warmer with bright, indirect light. African violets, begonias, gardenias, bougainvilleas, citrus, and tropical foliage plants will grow best in warmer rooms.

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